We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

Donald McLean

[ Donald McLean, Undetermined, BCA A-01454 ]

Donald McLean was a notoriously brutal fur trader who, prior to joining Cox's military expedition, had served as Chief Factor at Fort Chilcotin in the 1840s. As a fur trader, he had amassed considerable knowledge about the interior territory and its aboriginal inhabitants. He also may have married a Tsilhqot'in woman and their sons earned a reputation as frontier vigilantes.

In preparing the military expeditions for Tsilhqot'in territory, Governor Seymour recommended McLean and his sons to Commissioner Cox. Cox was successful in hiring McLean and one son along with another guide named Ogilvy. McLean served as second in command to Cox until he was ambushed and killed by Tsilhqot'in warriors in the fall of 1864. His was the last death directly associated with the Chilcotin War prior to the hanging of the Tsilhqot'in chiefs.

The rumour of McLean's "murder" quickly reached Victoria where it was thought for a time that Cox's entire expedition had been conquered by Tsilhqot'in warriors.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History